09/15/2018, 08.58
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Indian Protestant Churches: a 12 point 'Green Protocol' to save the environment

An initiative of South India Church, which includes 4.3 million faithful. The program proposes practical solutions to counter global warming. The idea arises as a response to the environmental disaster caused by floods in Kerala.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Do not build luxurious churches; use LED bulbs; plant saplings and remember to water them; instead of plastic, use steel plates during religious services; to avoid the waste of soap and water, serve the food on banana leaves or oiled paper. These are some of the practical solutions proposed by the Church of South India (CSI), the second largest Protestant denomination in the country.

Director of the Ecological Affairs Department of the CSI Synod, Mathew Koshy Punnackad, speaks to AsiaNews about the solutions contained in an initiative entitled "Green Protocol for a 'Green Discipleship'". The document, he adds, "develops into 12 points and has been sent to all dioceses to gather opinions and comments. Soon, at least 4.3 million CSI faithful will be approved and involved ".

The text states that "the goal is to promote sustainable development practices to build the power of change". The document's guidelines are the result of the humanitarian and environmental catastrophe in Kerala last August. Here the floods swamped entire villages, destroyed houses and roads, forced thousands of people to flee and caused over 400 deaths.

According to Dr. Punnackad, "the recent floods in Kerala cannot be considered an isolated incident. Already in the 2014 document on climate change, the UN warned against 'extreme weather events'. We have seen the effects of climate change in southern India: in 2015 the flood in Chennai, in 2016 in Assam, in 2017 the Ockhi cyclone in Kanyakumary and in Kerala, and finally in 2018 other rains in Kerala ".

Faced with the immense devastation caused by the power of nature, the director continues, "and although the Church of South India is engaged in training programs and seminars, we have realized that we have no control over things. This is why we have organized consultations with some experts to study how to mitigate [the effects] and adapt to the floods. We believe that the Church has a prophetic role and must equip people with the tools to counter global warming ".

During these consultations, which took place last September at the Eden Eco Spirituality Center in Othera (Kerala), it was reiterated that "there is a conscious link between climate change and climate justice" and that environmentalism understood as "a commitment to the protection of created, is a mission of the Church of South India ".

Hence the Protocol in 12 points. Among the most significant: the request to developed countries to change their development paradigm based on the exploitation of fossil fuels; an invitation to reduce the use of electric light bulbs in churches during the day, and to prefer LED lighting systems or solar energy; collect water from roofs and recycle it; eliminate the use of plastic using steel plates; making eco-friendly constructions and avoiding building too large churches compared to the effective capacity of the faithful; share the same place of worship with other denominations, which would set a good example not only for ecumenism but for an efficient use of resources; reduce waste production by learning to recycle; do not use chemical pesticides on church campuses; welcome meeting guests not with flowers, but with saplings to plant; promote organic farming instead of GMOs; use public transportation to go to church or car-sharing among the faithful.

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